Vessels of this elegant form and subtle coloration display the great technical advances made at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen at the beginning of the Qing dynasty, which saw the creation of numerous monochrome glazes. The tian lan (‘sky blue’) glaze is among the most striking innovation of the imperial kilns, and was achieved by diminishing the amount of cobalt oxide in the glaze mix. Vessels covered in this delicate glaze are often very finely potted, an indication that they were probably made in the latter years of the Kangxi reign, as suggested by Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 241.
A similar vase in the Baur collection, is illustrated in John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, vol. 2, Geneva, 1999, pl. 177; one from the collection of Mrs. Enid Lodge and Mr. F. Brodie Lodge, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Monochrome Porcelain of the Ming Manchu Dynasties, London, 1948, cat. no. 133, was sold in our London rooms, 11th July 1987, lot 205; and a slightly more globular example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 88. See also a slightly smaller vase of this shape sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 3614.
The elegant silhouette of this vase is based on Song dynasty prototypes, such as a celadon-glazed vase in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World’s Great Collections, vol. 12, Tokyo, 1977, pl. 52.